Preparation for the Next Step

Published 2:37 pm Saturday, December 7, 2019

Dr. Rickie R. Harris

In my last editorial column, I shared information regarding West Orange – Cove CISD’s strategic plan and forging forward with the development of a new five to seven-year plan. I shared the process that we will take in developing new goals. I, additionally, must point out that WOCCISD is not only taking the next steps in our systemic practices; but, we are also assisting our students in taking the next steps in their lives. 

For example, through the leadership of Jenny Morgan Swarers, our Coordinator of Career and Technology Education and our Early College High School, West Orange-Stark High School recently showcased college and career readiness offerings. Teachers and students marketed their courses not only to eighth through 12th-grade students, but also to students’ parents during a fantastic new “Meet the Programs” event. The event gave our students an opportunity to learn about a large variety of courses that lead to a multitude of career pathways. 

Furthermore during “Meet the Programs,” the district conducted an Information Meeting for all eighth-graders who plan to apply for our Early College High School (ECHS) lottery. Students and their parents filled our High School senior cafeteria to learn about the ECHS process, which includes an application, interview, and lottery. Selected students have the opportunity to earn an Associate’s degree from Lamar State College-Orange while attending High School. WOCCISD’s Early College High School is free and transportation is provided. The Information Meeting allowed prospective students to hear from and ask questions of the program coordinator and a current ECHS Cohort 1 student. Our fourth WOS ECHS cohort will be selected in the spring.

We believe that recent scholarships offered to our first class of ECHS students from Texas Southern University generated increased interest. WOS ECHS students were surprised in mid-November when Texas Southern University President Dr. Austin Lane announced that all members of the initial class of the WOS ECHS program would receive scholarships to TSU upon graduation from ECHS (LSCO) and West Orange-Stark High School. The announcement was made during a TSU and Lamar State College-Orange transfer agreement ceremony.

Our students were overwhelmed by the gesture! Students immediately began contacting their families to share the news. Parents, likewise, were equally as excited regarding this financial blessing. 

As always, we want to thank ALL of our community partners in assisting and supporting our efforts of transforming the lives of students every day. 

We believe in John Maxwell’s philosophy that “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.”

Go Mustangs! 


Dr. Rickie R. Harris is the Superintendent at West Orange – Cove CISD